The Carnival for Full Enjoyment writes:
"The Carnival for Full Enjoyment took over the streets of central Edinburgh on 4th July. Despite a level of police violence rarely seen at demonstrations in Scotland, Princes Street - the capital's main street - was occupied and closed for the whole afternoon and till late in the evening. A significant number of local people were involved along with internationals.
"Despite heavy-handed police action, the day was an impressive show of what people can do to take back the streets."
The aim of the day was to encourage resistance to wage slavery, benefits slavery, debt slavery and army slavery. “This is a chance to link everyday struggles against the bosses and politicians here in Scotland with the struggles of working class people throughout the world. Let's tell the G8 and all rich bloodsuckers: we owe you nothing. You owe US. You have stolen the whole world from us. Now we are organising to take it back.”
( More on Carnival aims at http://www.nodeal.org.uk )
thanks for photos to Indymedia Liege
For a short summary of the day, read onâ€¦
For a full blow-by-blow account, click here
BUSINESSES SHUT DOWN
A victory was gained by many businesses shutting for the whole day, hopefully winning their workers a paid holiday, something much needed as UK workers toil for some of the longest hours in Europe. Sheriff officers and New Deal slavery company A4E were among the anti social organisations closed down.
Despite the massive police presence penning in demonstrators - one large crowd were held captive for hours - carnivalistas roamed the city centre. Giant puppets, the Clown Army, Samba bands, and magic carpets (designed to push through police lines) - all featured. The Infernal Noise Brigade played as one contingent plastered posters on Lady Lawson Street Social Security HQ, home to Scotlandâ€™s top snooper boss, Joan Kirk.
â€œTotally unhindered by police we took over the whole width of Princes Street. Two magic carpets â€“ one proclaiming NO TO DOLE SNOOPERS - and the Freedom of Movement banner moved in unison down the street. Chants of "Whose Streets? Our Streets!" and "Whose World? Our World!" rang out, along with anti capitalist slogans in Italian.â€?
â€œAs we burst into a run a group of police in front of us turned and ran like rabbits. Actually they were in no danger, the running was a playful expression of our joy in taking over the city centre.â€?
POLICE ASSAULT MEDICS
At this point police drew batons and lashed out at protestors, and riot police â€“ some on horseback - charged the crowd. Police consistently targeted the street medics, arresting 5-6 medics and confiscating a van with medical supplies. A snatch squad of riot police violently assaulted two women medics.
90-120 demonstrators were arrested, 61 actually charged, over a third from the Edinburgh area. 23 were remanded in custody, one is still in prison.
As evening wore on, demonstrators, many local, fought back against the police brutality. In the Rose Street area police were pelted with missiles:
"The Rose street "mini-riot" was an awe inspiring sight, Youths, Anarchists, left-wingers, punks, anti-capitalists, clowns, hippies, homeless people and even your average joe on the street united as one mass, differences aside, to fight against our enemy: The thugs of the ruling class.â€?
To read our conclusions about the day click here
THE CARNIVAL FOR FULL ENJOYMENT â€“ WHAT REALLY HAPPENED â€“ THE FULL ACCOUNT,
ALL THE NEWS WE HAVE â€“ PLEASE ADD YOUR REPORT BELOW
BUSINESSES SHUT DOWN
A victory was gained from the start as many businesses shut for the whole day, hopefully winning their workers a paid holiday, something much needed as UK workers toil for some of the longest hours in Europe. More businesses closed in the course of the day, including many shops and pubs, such as Boots, Next, Gap and Ann Summers, as the police advised every business in the city centre to close their doors.
The A4E offices in Rutland Square - where unemployed people are forced to undergo compulsory courses - closed for the whole week, but are reportedly still forcing their slaves to do that week later. HM Love sheriff officers on Heriot Row - debt collectors - were closed on the day, after stating earlier that they did not close for the local holiday. Virtually the whole of the Multrees Walk designer shops development, including Calvin Klein and Louis Vuitton, announced in advance they would close for 3 days due to G8 protests, not re-opening till the day after the Carnival.
The chief executive of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce said the G8 had had a "devastating" impact on retailers. "It was worse than we had expected", he said. (Edinburgh Evening News 8.7.05) B. Smellie of the George Street Traders Association reckoned city centre shops had lost tens of millions of pounds due to the G8 protests.
NO DEBT SLAVERY
“We can support each other in standing up to the debt collectors. Lessons from the anti poll tax struggle show that armed with a blend of sound information, solidarity and a strong nerve we can leave the snoops and bullies chasing shadows and pleading for pennies. If you feel it's all getting too much the solution is simple - solidarity!”
Repression started long before the Carnival began, with police surrounding and threatening arrests against a battalion of the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army as they put on their face paint and costumes outside the Teviot Row convergence centre around 10/ 10.30am.
Around noon, the Carnival's advertised starting time, the police trapped people and penned them in Canning Street, a side street near the west end of Princes Street. About 200 protesters were corralled outside Exchange Tower, where police in a line three deep blocked both entrance and exit. A three-hour standoff ensued. The Pink and Silver Samba Band played and kept the crowd's spirits up, while other protesters, wearing fluorescent wigs and brightly coloured clothing, danced and whistled wildly in front of the police.
Efforts were made to breach the police line but were unsuccessful. Before they were allowed to go on their way, everyone was forced to give their name and address into a video camera before being searched. The police were adamant that anyone refusing to remove their masks would be arrested immediately.
The protesters finally left the police with a rendition of Gloria Gaynor's “I Will Survive”.
The Evening News reported that Martin Currie, the financial fund managers firm, had three bricks thrown through the windows of its Canning Street offices.
The Standard Life office on nearby Lothian Road was defended by a massive police presence, following misleading press reports that the building would be targeted. In fact carnival supporters had successfully leafleted the Standard Life workers earlier in the week, focusing on how casualisation and the use of temporary contracts worsens working conditions and increases stress, and urging workers self-organisation to fight back. (copy of leaflet at end of report)
NO WAGE SLAVERY
“We can organise in our workplaces and stand up for ourselves, taking direct action - such as work to rules, strikes, sabotage and occupations. But with so many jobs becoming temporary and casual, we need to create new ways of struggling and living - to seize resources and transform society from below. It IS possible to satisfy our needs, live more and work a lot less!”
CARNIVALISTAS RECLAIM THE STREETS
Despite the early set-back at the West End, around 1pm other people managed to come together at the west end of Princes Street, and join together into a group. Setting off eastwards they swept past a weak police line and marched together nearly half way along Princes Street.
Here they almost met the Infernal Noise Brigade contingent. The Infernals and friends, after being briefly boxed in on Rose Street, had made it to Hanover Street where the band struck up and headed onto Princes Street, heading westwards to meet the other main group of demonstrators.
Now however the Infernals were once more surrounded by police and due to these police corralling tactics, it didn't prove possible to unite the two groups, after some time the Infernal contingent having to once more head off eastwards.
Shortly after this the other larger group, which had marched east from the west end, made a big push to get through the police lines. This almost succeeded, but as both demonstrators and police tumbled to the ground, the police line just held.
Some time after, these demonstrators changed direction, heading unhindered back west up Princes Street, a FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT banner to the fore with chants such as NO BORDERS NO NATIONS STOP THE DEPORTATIONS. Turning south into Charlotte Square a stand off with police, including mounted police, ensued.
The Evening News reports that “Around 1:35pm in Charlotte Square, the cry went up from a squad of English police officers: "Batons up. Prepare to charge." The police then broke into a short jog before shouting in unison: "CHARGE!" The protesters pulled back. As the police line was bolstered by mounted officers, behind whom stood a third line of police in riot gear...one young woman in a clown's costume went along the line of riot police kissing each officer's shield.”
GIANT CARDBOARD CAT SPOOKS POLIS HORSES
However it was a giant cardboard cat that proved a secret weapon for the Carnival. One protester, kitted out with the costume, moved closer to the mounted police, causing the horses to grow jittery and difficult to control. A police snatch squad then moved up to menace the rebel feline.
A CUNNING PLANSome time after this group of demonstrators had marched eastwards along Princes Street from the West End, another crowd gathered, also at the West End. This contingent however - perhaps 60-100 strong and carrying a SOLIDARITY WITH AFRICAN WORKERS banner- set off northwards, down Queensferry Street. Then turning eastwards, making through some back streets onto Queen Street. Next heading back up towards Princes Street, emerging into Charlotte Square from the north.
Here however they were confronted by a line of police, including mounted officers, probably the same cops that were confronting the other roving band of demonstrators, and largely dispersed as a group, some people probably managing to filter through the line and others being forced out of the square.
Reports have it that one of the giant puppets accompanying this crowd, a somewhat sinister and menacing creation, caused almost as much alarm among the police horses as the giant cardboard cat...
After the Charlotte Square stand-off described above had continued for some 15 minutes or so, the majority of demonstrators in this area re-grouped, several hundred strong, and headed east away from Charlotte Square along George Street and then south into Princes Street. The police presence at this point was weak and the demonstrators had control of the streets, right in the centre of Princes Street. Two magic carpets were prominent - these are like a banner, but actual carpets with handles attached, carried by 3-4 people and excellent for either pushing through police lines or for defensive use to block a police attack. They were adorned with slogans such as SAY NO TO DOLE SNOOPERS. This was perhaps around 3pm.
A participant writes :
"This to me was the most inspiring period of the day. Totally unhindered by police we took over the whole width of Princes Street. Two magic carpets and the Freedom of Movement banner moved in unison down the street. Chants of "Whose Streets? Our Streets!" and "Whose World? Our World!" rang out, along with anti capitalist slogans in Italian.
“As we burst into a run, heading east, a group of police in front of us turned and ran like rabbits. Actually they were in no danger, the running was a playful expression of our joy in taking over the city centre.
“Now however things turned nasty as police turned, drew their batons and started attacking demonstrators. At this point I took a nasty blow to the hand from a police baton. Luckily for me two street medics were on hand and did an excellent job in treating me. Others were worse injured, as riot police were deployed and the iron fist was used."
Another demonstrator reports:
"I spent the day at the carnival, and it started out nicely. Like our man says, the walk along George Street and Princes Street was phenomenal, it looked like thousands of people (corporate media reports say about 1000 - but with no cars around it looked like many more) reclaiming the streets in a massive version of our annual local Edinburgh reclaim the streets demo. It was great, really beautiful. Even the Black Bloc guys and the people who'd clearly come prepared for something other than nonviolent protest were all smiles.
“But when the police decided to stop us, they didn't hesitate to be brutal. We were walking peacefully, at this point there was no violence or stone throwing of any kind, when the mounted police charged us. At the east end of princes street, directly outside Jenners, They charged at least three times, with batons unleashed on the final one, and while this had been happening they boxed us all in with lines of riot police.
“Trapped and panicked by the brutal tactics, things did escalate. I've been on many protests across Scotland, and this was by far the most provocative and violent policing I have ever witnessed. "
Nevertheless demonstrators held the ground in Princes street and danced as a small sound system on a trolley blasted away. The appearance of the sound system was a triumph of perseverance as police had attempted to stop it joining the demo.
Photo : Princes Street outside Jenners, the crowd holding its ground against mounted police
Clowns drew funny faces on police riot shields and helmets, on at least one occasion disconcerting the police ranks to the extent that they backed away.
Later as late afternoon went into evening, police moved in, attacking demonstrators on Princes street and the neighbouring gardens.
At one point police attempted to arrest a single individual and chased him into Princes Street Gardens, which was packed with spectators and protesters, many of whom went to try and save the man, pelting the police with flowers and earth. Park benches were used to try and halt the police attacks, and some buckets etc were hurled at the police. Some locals were understandably upset at the use of the benches, which are dedicated to deceased loved ones, but it is almost certain that those utilising the benches had no idea of this fact, and were merely using whatever came to hand to defend themselves.
A few hundred Edinburgh residents en route home found themselves trapped outside BHS in Princes Street by the police cordons. One pregnant woman, with a seven-year-old child, pleaded with police - initially in vain - to be let past. Green Scottish Parliament Member Mark Ballard criticised the police for effectively imprisoning passers-by.
The Edinburgh Evening News reported that "Further lines of riot police charged across the square at the bottom of the Mound, which caused more terrifying scenes. There was shouting and screaming and widespread confusion before things momentarily settled down."
The Evening News also quoted a passer-by as saying "I've been here since one o'clock and it's been absolutely terrifying. I think the police have been very heavy-handed by instigating most of it, because they're moving into the crowds, charging, hitting people on the heads with batons and their plastic shields. This has caused mayhem and caused the crowds to disrupt into angry scenes. I saw a police van drive into two protesters which knocked them to the ground.”
" I am here today because I am against oppression, hierarchy and money."
A Carnival participant wrote in Indymedia about this part of the day :
"Eventually, through charges with lines of riot police they trapped us inside Princes Street Gardens East. I managed to get out the other side before the stormtroopers had secured it, but many of my friends and comrades were trapped inside. The police were very hostile and threatening, barking at people to move arbitrarily from place to place, on what appeared to me to be filthy fascist power-tripping.
"People were let out one at a time, with many being photographed and almost all having to provide names and addresses. It took around two hours for my friends to be released, after which we went to Bristo square where the (amazing, brilliant and fantastic) Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army and many others were having a party.
"This was a celebration, a creative and positive thing, and it was very much the kind of action I like to see. Music, dancing, drumming, singing, making new friends, and all in solidarity against the brutal exploitation of the capitalist system and the (fresh in our minds) brutal tactics of the police."
SNOOPER HQ FLYPOSTED
Meanwhile in the mid afternoon a contingent of demonstrators, 50-60 strong plus the Infernal Noise Brigade, headed up the Mound, then down through the Grassmarket. Passers-by, attracted by the Infernal's catchy tunes, eagerly grabbed Carnival leaflets. By this stage free of any police presence, marchers converged on the Social Security head office at Lady Lawson Street, home of top Scottish snooper boss Joan Kirk - official title Principal Manager Scotland, Counter Fraud Investigation Services. (If you missed this opportunity to visit Ms Kirk, don't worry - you can always give her a ring on 0131 222 5089)
As the Infernal Noise Brigade blasted out rhythms of resistance, demonstrators plastered the building with posters, including ones proclaiming WE STOP THE SHERIFF. Two of the main themes of the Carnival were resistance to benefits slavery and to debt slavery.
NO BENEFITS SLAVERY
“When we're dependent on state benefits we face a growing contingent of snoopers, scabs, grasses and bureaucrats who try to spy on us or try to force us onto schemes to work for benefits that aren't enough to live on. Let's support each other in job centres and compulsory schemes, and refuse to be intimidated by interviews and snoopers. We have a long history of benefit claimants organising together to see them off!”
ROSE STREET ROCKS
A mini riot erupted in Rose street, at the St Andrews Square end, in the early evening, around 6.30pm. One eye witness reported that local youth and black bloc united against the common enemy - the polis. The cops, who had assaulted people, were met by hails of missiles.
Another observer reports that demonstrators took advantage of Rose Street's cobbles : "Some more angry protestors ..... started to dig individual bricks out of the street to use as weapons. This technique spread, leading to wide-spread pelting of the police with bricks..." Bread pallets were also hurled and shopping trolleys were pushed into police lines. One witness reports around 200 demonstrators involved at this point.
A third witness described the events thus :
"The Rose street "mini-riot" was an awe inspiring sight, Youths, Anarchists, left-wingers, punks, anti-capitalists, clowns, hippies, homeless people and even your average joe on the street united as one mass, differences aside, to fight against our enemy: The thugs of the ruling class."
REBEL PIPER INSPIRES REVOLT!
A bit later, around 8-9pm, and not far away, on South St David St, off St Andrews Square, more clashes broke out between crowds of mainly locals and the police. The Evening News/ Scotsman web site reports : "Several hundred onlookers gathered at the junction with South St David Street while chants of "scum, scum, scum" were hurled at the police. Later, some of the crowd began hurling stones and cobbles at the advancing police line. ..... a large number were locals."
An eye witness writes on Indymedia Eire, of events later in the day around the east end of Princes Street:
“This was 8pm.......I cycled up and it was hard to find out what was happening. There seemed to be no 'centre' of activity, and there were certainly no 'activists' left at this point. I cycled around a long way to get to the other side of the police line, where 4 or 5 people were being detained with plastic handcuffs in front of a boarded up mobile phone shop. They were definitely not pink, black, clown, or any other block. Just ordinary folk. An onlooker said they were being arrested for refusing to move on when ordered by a Police officer, but I cannot confirm that.
They were put into vans, with a chorus of boos and hisses from the crowd, chanting to let them go. Next thing a glass bottle hit the line, racking up the tension. The cops were getting nervous, and the crowd were telling them to fuck off (because most of the riot cops were English rather than local Police, it seemed). The cops jumped into the crowd and snatched a teenage girl, provoking more anger and the occasional missile from the crowd.
A bagpiper blowing out traditional tunes seemed to be stirring the Scots into a bit of an anti-establishment fervour. It seemed as if this crowd had mostly just turned up after they saw what was happening on the news, and joined in the activities themselves.
What happened next was bizarre and unprecedented. A group of about a dozen riot cops were left in a laneway while the others had been taken away in vans. Possibly they were just waiting around for an empty van to come and pick them up. Several people saw them down the lane isolated, and the next thing they were being stoned and bottled by people steaming up the laneway. Bottles were fired at them from close range, a dumpster was pushed straight at the line of shields, and a traffic cone and a bin were thrown at them when they charged their way back to the junction of the street.
Four or five of the Clown Army showed up at this point, trying to stop people throwing stuff at the cops, and making faces and generally being silly right in front of the Police. One female clown was nearly hit in the head with the big traffic cone, and their attempts to calm the situation didn't really work at all, so they left fairly quickly.
Within a minute a huge amount of Police vans arrived into the area with sirens squealing, pouring out more padded riot units. This sent the crowd scattering. They also brought out the dog unit, forcing people away from the laneway, threatening to use the dogs on people that did not back off.
Eventually the Police got all their Officers back into vans, and retreated out of the area rapidly. The crowd cheered and was chanting Anti-G8 slogans as well as "Whose streets? Our streets!" ..."
Other reports on Indymedia corroborate this report, the described laneway being apparently Meuse Lane, near St Andrews Square, and the time of the police pull-out put at 9.35pm.
An Indymedia Scotland report quotes a local Scottish Socialist Party activist as saying around this time: “It's been mental and the riot police have been here and really been squaring up to young people who mostly live in Edinburgh who are really outraged that the riot police are used in Edinburgh. It's never happened before and it must never happen again. They're our streets! The attitude of the police has been disgraceful. They're our streets!?”
An Australian guy standing nearby stated, “We did throw some bottles but only after watching our girl friends get bashed and our brothers get crumbled and that's understandable. You wouldn't throw bottles after your brother and your girl friend had both got crumbled? Fuck that!”
NO ARMY SLAVERY
“The Iraq war has exposed how the British army just turns people into cannon fodder to help politicians like Bush and Blair....Resistance to this abuse is being organised by groups like the Justice for Gordon Gentle Campaign from Pollok Glasgow, and needs to spread to all working class communities that provide victims of the global war machine.”
THE CARNIVAL CONTINUES
So - how successful was the Carnival for Full Enjoyment?
Difficult to sum up the day, but our main feeling is that in the face of a police presence that was both massive and, for Scotland, exceptionally violent, participants in the carnival achieved a great deal.
Much of the city centre was taken over by carnivalistas for significant periods of the day. And even when the police controlled things by corralling demonstrators it was at the cost, for the system, of a complete closure of the city centre and a huge disruption of "business as usual". Not to mention the very high cost in lost business and in state expenditure. The closure of many businesses and workplaces for all or part of the day was in itself a victory, winning many workers a bit of temporary freedom from wage slavery, hopefully with full pay.
We have no illusions about the police. They are a tool of the rich and powerful, and will always act to defend their interests. Therefore while it is important to expose their brutality, the overwhelming need is to work out how to combat their tactics. While the carnival did break free of the penning in tactic on many occasions, too often protestors were corralled, notably for several hours at the west end, and more thought, planning and action will be needed in future to avoid this.
The aim of the carnival was to link everyday struggle - especially in the workplace, amongst claimants, against debt, against the recruitment of working class people to the army - with the international mobilisation against the G8. The publicity for the Carnival made this clear (though predictably this was almost totally ignored by the mass media). However on the day it proved difficult to put this into practice, by for example a clear targeting of certain institutions. The weight of police repression made moving together through the streets, without being driven off or penned in, a major achievement in itself - though there was an excellent action at the Social Security HQ, home to Scotland's top dole snooper.
But the success or otherwise of actions such as the Carnival for Full Enjoyment is not to be judged only - or even mainly - by the events of the day. Our main aim was that the action would strengthen everyday struggle and resistance in the future. We hope that the links made on a Britain-wide and international level before and during the Carnival - though limited in number - will develop to enable us to feel more part of a continuing movement rooted in daily activity.
One of the most positive aspects of the Carnival was the significant number of working class people from the Edinburgh area who got involved. If this can assist in the growth of a more visible and organised resistance to bosses, benefit authorities, debt collectors, the state and capitalist authority in general in this part of the world then the Carnival will have been well worthwhile.
As the Carnival flyer puts it: “Whether we are waged or unwaged we are often faced with isolation and a lack of collective power. We can overcome this by supporting each other in job centres, workplaces, compulsory schemes and in our communities - and by reaching beyond to find new ways of struggling and living. Let's share information and reclaim what's ours on the streets, in the shops, on public transport.”
If you are interested in what we are saying and doing, please do get in touch. There will be follow-up meetings to the Carnival, and continuing activities, in Edinburgh, London and elsewhere. We are very keen to network with groups and individuals engaged in similar activity anywhere in the world.
Comments and info to improve this report - still a work in progress - very welcome.
Carnival for Full Enjoyment
Edinburgh Claimants http://www.edinburghclaimants.org
Precarity Assembly http://www.precarity.info
Justice 4 Gordon Gentle http://www.justice4gordongentle.org
Industrial Workers of the World http://www.iww.org.uk
No Borders http://www.noborder.org
Make Borders History http://www.makebordershistory.org
MORE ON THE CARNIVAL BELOW - SECTIONS ON
THE IRON FIST
The numer of arrests was reported variously as 90-120. Of these around 61 were actually charged, the others released after being held overnight. Of the 61 charged a large proportion - approximately 23 - were then remanded in custody, the 16 men to Saughton prison (Edinburgh) and the seven women to Corton Vale, by Stirling. Over a third of those charged were from the Edinburgh area, illustrating the significant local involvement in the Carnival.
Most of those remanded were released on bail by Friday 8th, but as at 17th July there was still one carnival prisoner in Saughton who was expected to be inside until early August at least. (At this date there was one other G8 prisoner still inside as well, in Barlinnie, Glasgow)
Prisoner solidarity activity was quickly underway, with a presence at the court - despite the public being banned and trials held in secret - and letters and support sent in to prisoners. Around 60-100 people demonstrated at Saughton prison on 8th July, in solidarity with all G8 prisoners.
Many people are still facing charges, from the Carnival and other G8 actions, and support is much needed. Unless the procurator fiscal sees sense and drops the charges, people will face trials later this year or early next year. Current charges include some of "mobbing". Those coming from outside the area will have to find travel expenses and there are many costs involved in defendants and prisoner support.
Please contact the groups below to find out how you can help, donations and writing to prisoners are two ways. If you were present reports of arrests, police violence, photos, etc that could help the defence are vital.
July 2005 Defendants Support, c/o 17 West Montgomery Place, Edinburgh EH7 5HA email@example.com 0131 557 6242 (ansaphone)
G8 Legal Support Group
Volunteers from the G8 Legal Support Group were present at the Carnival, as at all the G8 protests, observing, gathering evidence and witnesses, ensuring that all arrested were known about and supported. From the bust cards with legal info and lawyers numbers to actually being there when the police were attempting dodgy searches or arrests, the legal observers provided a vital on-the-spot presence.
The Legal Support Group gives unconditional support to anyone arrested as a result of participation in protests or actions against the G8. They are helping co-ordinate witnesses and evidence that may be helpful to peoples defences, and will be reporting and advertising court appearances to other activists so as to maximise court support.
The G8 Legal Support Group urgently needs to hear from witnesses to arrests. “Please complete the witness form on our website or send us an email.” See their website for an Initial Statement on Policing at the G8 Protests - in due course they will issue a full report. Donations are urgently needed, e mail or see the website for how you can help.
The street medics played an important role in the Carnival, as in many other G8 actions, present in the thick of the action and providing vital first aid to demonstrators immediately it was needed. This was doubly important in a situation where there were no state medical services on hand - indeed there is a report that ambulances were refusing to answer calls to aid injured demonstrators.
The medics describe themselves thus
"UK Action Medics are a network of activists who have first aid skills, together with a few who are nurses and doctors. We want to make sure that ourselves and others are trained in the unique areas of medicine in protest situations (eg. CS gas and the working conditions) in addition to the normal first aid. We want to be organised so people who are organising protests can let us know so we can try and be at the event. "
During the Carnival it became clear that the police were targeting the street medics for harassment and arrest. Medics were subjected to many stop and searches, five or six medics were arrested and their medic van seized.
Two women medics were targeted and violently arrested by a police snatch squad in full riot gear in Princes Street Gardens. They had been doing no more than treating injured people (many had been injured on railing spikes trying to escape the cops). In the course of the arrests the women screamed in pain as the police deliberately used pressure point holds to hurt them. Interview with the arrested medics at http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/07/317485.html
PROPAGANDA ALL IS PHONEY
To get the message of the Carnival across thousands of leaflets, flyers and a thousand posters were distributed, especially around Edinburgh and at the huge Make Poverty History demo. 200 copies of a special leaflet published by the local Industrial Workers of the World were distributed to workers at Standard Life, on Lothian Road Edinburgh. Leaflets and poster available as downloads at http://riseup.net/ourmayday/nodeal/download.htm
The media reporting was massive but, as expected, overwhelmingly hostile. To say it was distorted would be an understatement, outright lies would be more accurate. The Edinburgh Evening News produced several hysterical articles, including a front page headlined IT'S GOING TO BE ANARCHY!, while Scotland's main tabloid, the Daily Record, had a full page BEWARE THE 4TH JULY. More positively, Radio Scotland broadcast a statement from the Carnival and - astonishingly - the Daily Mail reproduced a significant amount of a Carnival press release (see below).
TALKING THE TALK
Associated with the carnival, there was a discussion at the Edinburgh convergence centre on networking struggles, especially in the areas of work, benefits and precarity in general. Participants from Sweden, the USA, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Poland, England, Scotland and elsewhere exchanged experiences - we hope to produce a report on the meeting and to stay in touch - if you would like to be part of such ongoing exchanges please contact us."
PRESS RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE USE
RE Carnival for Full Enjoyment, Edinburgh 4 July 2005.
"Phone in Sick and Join the Carnival!" urge organisers of G8 protest
Many reports about the protests against the G8 make it all sound like a nightmare for Edinburgh residents. The truth is many locals welcome the upcoming demonstrations. This is an opportunity to link everyday struggles against the bosses and politicians here in Edinburgh with the struggles of working class people throughout the world.
The Carnival for Full Enjoyment involves both local people and people from round Britain and beyond. We are making it a carnival because life should be more fun for those of us who labour in underpaid insecure jobs, in casual and agency work, or on "New Deal" schemes. There should be more joy for the unemployed trying to survive on a few quid a week and for those of us juggling childcare and debt.
We know many other groups locally are glad the Carnival is happening. For example Esther MacDonald of Edinburgh Claimants told us: Every week we give advice and solidarity to people resisting benefits cuts and harrassment and to people standing up to debt collectors. We welcome the Carnival for Full Enjoyment. From Niddrie to Nigeria, poor people need to organise ourselves to take the world's resources into the hands of the world's people.
Our purpose is to oppose those who devastate our communities through economic exploitation. We will make clear our resistance to organisations which thrive on the poverty and debt in which many of us find ourselves. Because our society is mainly based on using people to make money for others, there are many such organisations to choose from.
We are in favour of direct action because marching around with placards can be safely ignored by those who control exploitation. We advocate direct action against the institutions which exploit the majority. However ludicrous reports have suggested that individual workers might be targetted by the Carnival. On the contrary many of the Carnival participants ARE workers in major companies.
We invite workers from Standard Life and all other corporations to join the Carnival. Take an extended lunch-break, phone in sick! Join us in opposing casualisation, the intensification of work, attacks on pensions and conditions. Edinburgh call centre worker David Gillies said "At my work they monitor our calls and threaten us with disciplinary action if we spend too long speaking to the caller. The company only cares about profit. I'm taking the day off on the 4th to join the Carnival."
The carnival is a celebration of how good life can be, and at the same time a statement against those who spoil it for the majority.
The Carnival will begin between 12 and 12.30pm on Monday 4th July in the area around the west end of Princes St and Shandwick Place in central Edinburgh.
More info www.nodeal.org.uk
Second Carnival for Full Enjoyment press release
CARNIVAL DENOUNCES ARMY RECRUITMENT CENTRES AS “LIE CENTRES”
The Carnival for Full Enjoyment - due to burst onto Edinburgh's streets on Monday at noon - has denounced Army Recruitment Centres as “lie centres” and alleges the army relies on low wages and unemployment to drive young people into their clutches.
A spokeswoman for the carnival, Emma Piercy, said,: “All over the UK army regiments set up glossy stalls on high streets and in jobcentres, often targeting communities which have been ravaged by unemployment and never bothering to mention bloodshed or death. With their misleading propaganda they entice people just out of school, using them as a tool for enforcing the will of politicians and bosses around the world.”
”Gordon Gentle from Pollok, Glasgow was one young unemployed man who fell victim to the disgusting lies of the Army Recruiters. They told him he would travel and learn a trade. He was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq on 28th June 2004. The Carnival for Full Enjoyment is acting in solidarity with the Justice for Gordon Gentle campaign, who have courageously exposed the reality of the Army and of the Iraq war.”
Rose Gentle, Gordon's mother, said “When Gordon signed up they didn't mention their war in Iraq. He was lied to just like we all were. He was 19, just starting out. Tony Blair has a lot to answer for. He has children too, but none of them will ever go to Iraq. Think of Gordon before you put your name to any paper. Think before you sign up.”
”This war is wrong, it is an illegal war and nobody should be forced to go and fight it. The troops should have a say and no soldiers should have to go there if they oppose it. And if the army try to punish them for not going, we'll be there to support them,” promised Rose.
Earlier this year Territorial Army medic George Solomou from London refused to be posted to Iraq. In the USA over 5,500 troops have deserted since the Iraq war started. Figures reveal the number of recruits joining Scotland's six regiments fell sharply last year.
Spokeswoman Emma stated: ”The Carnival for Full Enjoyment is in full solidarity with soldiers who refuse to fight. Monday gives us all a chance to show we won't tolerate Army slavery.”
The Carnival for Full Enjoyment will start Mon 4 July 12-12.30pm at the West End of Princes St, Edinburgh
The Carnival is acting in solidarity with the Justice for Gordon Gentle Campaign, but the Campaign is not one of the organisers of the Carnival.
More info www.nodeal.org.uk
Leaflet distributed at Standard Life office, Lothian Rd, Edinburgh
SUBSTANDARD WORKING LIFE?
How dodgy recruitment practices screw us all up
Financial institutions such as Standard Life, Scottish Widows etc increasingly rely on temporary/casual staff recruited from agencies. Permanent staffing levels are kept to an absolute minimum and the pressure cranked up until workers capabilities reach a crisis point. Then temps are brought in to deal with excess workload. Ring any bells?
This method of organising has become so much of a part of our day to day workplace life that it may seem strange that until the 1970's this would not have been tolerated by trade unions in the UK. The reason for this was that the unions understood how agency recruitment and temporary contracts have a negative impact on workplace rights and, until the 70's they were actually strong enough in most industries to prevent it. Nowadays the unions are weaker and therefore bosses can suit themselves to a much greater degree. They are taking full advantage of their new found freedom. If we want to understand how our workplaces are being manipulated to undermine pay and conditions and maximise profits we need to understand the effects of casualisation.
We cannot STRESS this enough
Why is it that the UK has the highest levels of work related stress in Europe? Why do we work longer hours than anywhere else in Europe? Why do we do so much unpaid overtime (the TUC reckons that last year we did Ã‚Â£23 billion worth)? The answer is that we feel insecure in our jobs and this is the most basic effect of casualisation and agency temping.
There is now a dual job market, many organisations running with a core of full time permanent staff and a fluctuating pool of temps/contract workers. This serves to undermine any sense of solidarity between workers both by driving a wedge between permanent and temporary staff and by providing agencies as a buffer between bosses and workers. We are competing with one another and left feeling impotent in the face of diminishing conditions and the erosion of prospects for negotiating pay rises etc.
There is so much pressure to impress the bosses and increase our prospects of keeping a job that many people are willing to “volunteer”and work extra for no pay. The bosses are tickled pink by this situation and managers and supervisors are encouraged to make the most of people's “flexibility”.The mainstream trade unions have done very little to combat the effects of casualisation.
The sum effect of all this in the average workplace has been to make us feel scared of making a fuss about pay, conditions and health and safety in case we are found surplus to requirements and “let go”. To approach other workers about their feelings on such matters can itself be a dangerous move and so a lot of issues are rarely even discussed.
The bosses are carefully constructing a paradise for exploiters. The Recruitment and Employers Confederation (REC) has lobbied the government to resist European initiatives on protecting workers, insisting that UK workers must be “flexible” and “competitive” (i.e. weak and vulnerable) and must therefore expect worse pay and conditions.
Resistance is useful
Is there anything we can do about this situation? History shows that wherever there is injustice and exploitation people always find ways to fight back. Permanent and agency staff on the London underground, for example, have joined together to protect health and safety standards, showing how important it is not to accept the false divisions of a two-tier workforce. When we realise that we are all in the same boat we can stand together and make a real difference. This is not always easy but all over the UK, Europe and the world the resistance to exploitation is growing.
In July the G8 leaders are meeting in Scotland to discuss ways of organising the exploitation of the worlds population. This is a good opportunity to raise a voice of resistance to job insecurityand the erosion of workers rights. People will be here from all over the world but there are plenty of locals involved as well. The media will say many things about the motives and tactics of the protesters but you can safely ignore most of that. The media is of course owned and controlled by the rich and powerful and pursues their interests.
Some of the events in the G8 week will be designed to highlight the effects of casualisation and to encourage workers to find ways of fighting back. The "CARNIVAL FOR FULL ENJOYMENT" on July 4th from 12 noon at the West End of Princes St. is intended to encourage resistance to workplace exploitation/low-pay. There has been a lot of rubbish in the papers and from management about workers maybe being attacked. Please ignore these lies and try to come along. Why not take an extended lunchbreak. Better still throw a sicky all day and get some of your own back. Maybe see you there!
Useful contacts :
Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), Edinburgh General Membership Branch, c/o 17 West Montgomery Place, Edinburgh, EH7 5HA. http://www.iww.co.uk
Bristol Against Casualisation Campaign (good source of information on casualisation) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Carnival for Full Enjoyment http://www.nodeal.org.uk